Sunday 2 March 2014 

Clarke Reaches 161, Rain Stops Play

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke spent 30 minutes on 99 before reaching his 27th Test century
© REUTERS / Action Images
 
Steve Smith
Steve Smith fell for 84 but added 184 with Clarke for the fourth wicket
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Australia 494-7 (Clarke 161no, Warner 135) v
South Africa
Third Test, Cape Town, day two
Scorecard | Day One

Michael Clarke pushed on after spending 30 minutes stuck on 99 and closed day two of the decisive third Test in Cape Town on 161 not out before play ended early due to rain.

Clarke was given a severe working over by South Africa's bowlers, and Morne Morkel in particular, on day one, and the home side continued to test him before he finally reached his 27th Test century.

Australia were on 494 for seven when a dramatic storm blew across Newlands, resulting in the groundstaff almost being swept off of their feet as they battled to get the covers on to the square.

JP Duminy finished the day with innings figures of four for 73 in 17 overs as Australia advanced from their overnight score of 331 for three.

Stephen Smith fell for 84, Shane Watson made 40 batting at number six, Brad Haddin made 13 and Mitchell Johnson failed to score.

At the other end, Clarke was imperious, and has now faced 301 balls and hit 17 fours.

However, he almost ran himself out on 98 and then left a delivery from Kyle Abbott that missed the stumps by a fraction when on 99.

Finally though, he drove through the covers for four to score a battling century of the highest quality and pressed on from there, looking in supreme touch.

After a lighter moment when he demonstrated mock disappointment in seeing long-time mentor and Australia's new spin-bowling consultant Shane Warne taking a nap in the dressing room, he pulled for another boundary to reach 150 for the 10th time in his career.

South Africa were still without Dale Steyn, who left the field with a hamstring injury on day one, meaning that Duminy and Dean Elgar have now bowled 17 and 22 overs respectively.

It was Elgar who took the first wicket of the day, bowling Smith as he tried to cut a ball that was far too straight.

Watson cracked two fours and three sixes, facing just 32 balls to reach 40 before he holed out to Hashim Amla off Duminy.

The off-spinner, who had dismissed David Warner (135) on day one, then took two wickets in two balls to see off Haddin and Johnson.

Haddin drove straight to Amla at mid-off and Johnson was caught down the leg-side by wicket-keeper AB de Villiers following a successful review by the South Africans.

There was to be no hat-trick for Duminy - or at least not yet - as just four more balls were bowled before the bad weather arrived.

The series is locked at 1-1 after Australia won the opening Test by 281 runs at Centurion Park only for South Africa to hit back with a 231-run success in Port Elizabeth.

© Cricket World 2014

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Fixtures & Results

12th-16th February: 1st Test, Centurion
AUS 397 & 290-4d. beat RSA 206 & 200 by 281 runs
20th-24th February: 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth
RSA 423 & 270-5 dec. beat 246 & 216 by 231 runs
1st-5th March: 3rd Test, Cape Town
AUS 494-7d & 303-5d beat RSA 287 & 265 by 245 runs
9th March: 1st T20I, Port Elizabeth
Match abandoned without a ball bowled - rain
12th March: 2nd T20I, Durban
AUS 81-5 beat RSA 80-1 by 5 wickets
14th March: 3rd T20I, Centurion
AUS 129-4 beat RSA 128-7 by 6 wickets